Monday, August 19, 2013

The Last Word

I am bringing this blog to an end, for several reasons. The first is that it has not attracted an audience or stimulated a debate - pity about that (but I did not promote it or advertise it at all - I didn't even tell my friends that I was writing it.)

The other issue is my despair. Our freedoms are not simply under attack - they have been grossly undermined by the actions of the US and UK governments in the last few years. As for the UK police, words fail me!

This week, the Guardian, which I have now given up reading because it makes me so sad, has revealed the 'Prism' program which apparently allows the US government to monitor telephone and internet records of any US citizen communicating with any foreigner.

It has been suggested (and denied) that GCHQ in Britain benefits from this information. But that is clearly untrue - see the Guardian 22.06.13.

It has also come to my attention that a major re-fit at Menwith Hill is under way.

Menwith Hill, in Yorkshire, is an immense American communicatons monitoring station on British soil and I have always suspected that British spooks go to Menwith Hill with their requests for surveillance rather than applying to the Home Secretary or a judge when they need a suspect monitored.

How happy I would be, if I knew that suspicion were wrong.

The British state has been grossly over-powerful, mendacious and ruthless for as many years as I have been alive. Seventy, this year.

In 1959 or 1960 in a school boy's debate at St. Paul's School, at the age of 16 or 17, I put to Lord Hailsham (then in the Cabinet), the accusation that British troops had tortured and killed Kenyans who supported (or were accused of supporting) the Mau Mau independence movement in their country.

He brushed it off.

It has taken 53 years for those Kenyans to get near to justice and to receive compensation for the ghastly injuries (including castration) inflicted by soldiers from the British army. Compensation was agreed last week.

Hypocrisy is the British disease. Hypocrisy, venality and lock-tugging subservience to a class system and a country which makes us 'subjects' instead of citizens, serfs and slaves instead of individuals with hope.

I am very frightened for my grand-children.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Hillsborough disaster

I have been meaning to write about Hillsborough - the disaster, many years ago, when 96 football fans died and the police tried to lie and blame the catastrophe on the victims.

Unfortunately, it makes me so sad, so angry that I have been unable to do so.

This account, from a survivor of that day, says everything I could possibly say - and then some:

(from the Guardian, September 14th., 2012)

"First of all, apologies are due to Our Lady, for the language. When the Hillsborough Independent Panel filed in to the press conference in the chapel of Our Lady in Liverpool's majestic Anglican cathedral, just before midday on Wednesday, the mood was sombre. Within half an hour, the air was a shade of blue; 100 journalists gathered in the chapel swearing in disbelief at the revelations contained in this landmark report.

As a survivor of the disaster, I had a rare perspective among the media. I survived the crush in pen 3; many of the 96 died in front of me. Unable to move for over half an hour, I was condemned to watch them cry for help, throw up, plead for their lives and die. When the police finally opened the gate in the fence and the crush abated, around a dozen of them simply keeled over and hit the concrete. A heap of corpses piled up in front of me. One police officer said the scene "was like Belsen".

The noise will never leave me. Yesterday, there were periods of profound silence between the many questions directed first towards the panel and then the family groups. I almost broke that with my own tears when it was revealed that 41 of the dead might have been saved.

A shocking number – so large that, had those 41 been saved, Hillsborough would not stand today as the biggest disaster in British sport. That claim to notoriety would belong to the Ibrox disaster of 1971, which claimed 66 lives.

The fact that the outrageous lies of the South Yorkshire police, accepted by Kelvin MacKenzie, were chiselled away, slowly, carefully and forensically over 23 years, lent this process a weight in the public mind that a judicial review, convened perhaps over a few short months, could not have achieved.

This, however, should not be time for a celebration of the peculiarly evolutionary nature of British justice: this was driven by grief left to fester for 23 years. People can accept that terrible things happen if accountability and truth follow. "We will always be the losers in this," Margaret Aspinall said. But as one reporter replied: "Yes, but Margaret, this is the first time I think I've ever seen you smile."

Survivors and families have lived with very different nightmares since 1989: the bereaved suffered intense grief; survivors bore the trauma.

They are different conditions, and require different treatments. Justice and truth are perhaps the only remedy that can heal us both.

What did I realistically hope for this week? I hoped that the lies peddled by the police and the Sun would be exposed. They were detonated. I hoped that people would recognise the families as we know them, ordinary people who retained their dignity amid extraordinary grief. They were magnificent. I could not possibly have hoped that the panel would do such a fine job, and it must take enormous credit, propelled by the remarkable Phil Scraton. And while I expected some form of vindication, I did not expect to find myself at the heart of a historic event. When the Daily Mirror's Brian Reade asked if we had seen the biggest cover-up in British history, Michael Mansfield QC simply answered: "Yes."

I felt a sense for the first time that this tragedy was no longer mine, or other survivors', or the families' – it belongs now to the nation, both as a wake-up call, a warning of how systemically justice can be corrupted, and as a reminder that right can still triumph over might. Liverpool and Liverpool fans have done the nation a great service here. We never gave up: we had to take on not one police force but two (one curious omission for me was the role of the West Midlands police), the rightwing media, the legal system and successive governments. And we won.

There is no bitterness on my part that the public took 23 years to wake up to our nightmare. Their ignorance was their faith in the media and in the police. This has suffered a huge blow and the fact surely cannot go unnoticed by Lord Justice Leveson. I also hope, as a southerner, that the people of Liverpool will no longer be subjected to the lazy, callous stereotypes peddled off the back of the Sun's lies.

As the rain fell outside the chapel, the panel began proceedings with its distinctly 21st-century language (it would offer no "value judgments"). But last night, in the Ship and Mitre pub in Liverpool city centre, an 80s revival was in full swing. Fleet Street's finest sunk beers and sang songs with Labour MPs Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham, with the families, survivors and other campaigners. And through a night when the streets of Liverpool appeared to be paved with springs, there was still magnanimity: I heard not one note of scepticism about David Cameron's speech. He was universally applauded for setting the tone of a historic day with a compassionate and unequivocal response in the Commons. Credit where it's due. Now let's have justice where it's due."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Laugh 0r Cry

Guy Taylor, now 45, enquired what data the police held on him, as he is entitled to under the data protection act.

He was (and is) a political activist and he discovered, probably to his delight, that the police had been seriously interested in the stall he helped to set up at the Glastonbury Festival in 2009 and that a police spy reported that this stall "was selling political publications and merchandise of an XLW (extremely left wing) anti-capitalist nature."

Good on them, say I. Anyone who hadn't turned anti-capitalist by 2009 can't have been reading the newspapers.

Mr. Taylor deserves the last word:

"I can't understand what use information about what I did at Glastonbury has for the Metropolitan police. If they need to know the plans and schemes of anti-capitalists, the worst place to look is Glastonbury as we were rarely in a fit state to plan the downfall of a parish council, let alone the world financial system as we know it."

Mr. Taylor has one conviction, for spray painting in 1991, when he must have been about 15 years old.

His attendance at political demonstrations and at Glastonbury has been monitored ever since.

(Guardian, 16 July 2012)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The most obstreperous, bad-tempered and argumentative Prime Minister of recent times (Gordon  Brown) did not believe he could get away with telling the Murdoch Press to fuck right off even when the suggestion was that they should publish intimate and confidential information about the illness of his child. Which they did.

Murdoch and his operations have disgusted and repulsed me ever since he first graced these shores. But this is the ultimate measure of his corrupting influence on British life and British politics.

Do everything you can to take Murdoch down. Don't buy his newspapers and books, don't go to his movies, vote and agitate against him and his cohorts whenever you can.

(Oh, and do anything you can to get rid of Jeremy Hunt, the 'Minister for Murdoch' as well. It is time he went too.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

It gets worse - broadcasting

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian 26th. April:

"... here's a reminder of what Hunt was about to unleash on the country, with Cameron and George Osborne's approval. If Murdoch were allowed to own all BSkyB, within a year or two he would package all his newspapers on subscription or online together with his movie and sports channels in offers consumers could hardly refuse, at loss-leading prices. Other news providers, including this one, would be driven out, or reduced to a husk. His would be the commanding news voice. Except for the BBC – which his media have attacked relentlessly for years.
Sky's dominance over the BBC is already looming: now past its investment phase, Sky's income is multiplying fast at £5.5bn a year, against the BBC's static £3.5bn. Sky's growing billions can buy everything, not only sports and movies, but every best series: the BBC trains and develops talent, predatory Sky will snatch it. Nor is Sky that good for the Treasury: for every £1 in Sky subscriptions, 90p flees the country, straight to News Corp and Hollywood in the US.
The BBC is remarkable value for money: Sky subscribers can pay £500 a year, the licence fee is £145 for masses more content. Sky is parasitic, as its own subscribers watch many more hours of BBC than Sky, so Sky would collapse if the BBC denied it its channels. Yet the BBC still pays £5m a year for appearing on its platform, a deal struck by Thatcher to help Murdoch.
The sum was cut, but in all other countries commercial broadcasters pay national broadcasters for the right to use their content – not the other way round. The BBC should be paid a hefty fee from BSkyB to compensate for the 16% cut it suffered, partly as a result of Murdoch lobbying. The cut was pure spite, since the licence fee has no connection with Treasury deficits. Pressure persists to deprive viewers of listed national events saved to watch free on BBC: Wimbledon and the rest would go the way of Premier League football ...."

Uncle Rupert

Rupert Murdoch, under interrogation at the Leveson enquiry, revealed 67 meetings with the last five Prime Ministers over the last thirty or forty years.. 
This man, let us remember, is not even a British citizen. 
(I wonder if he pays any British taxes?)
I wrote immediately to the Guardian.
Dear Sir,
A private dinner with Mrs. Thatcher just before she allowed him to
acquire the Times and Sunday Times? A whole afternoon telling Tony Blair what to think about the EU? A quiet breakfast with David Cameron a few days before the Sun switched sides to support the Tories?
Could someone let us know how many similarly convivial and mutually convenient sessions the Editor of the Guardian and the BBC's Director General have enjoyed with the last four or five Prime Ministers?
Yours etc.,
My letter was not published. I got no answer ....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Understatement - the British virtue

A British citizen with a black skin, aged 28, stops to give information to the police in London.

He is driving a smart car, dressed in a pin-stripe suit. Admittedly it is 3.30 in the morning and the police have been under attack from people with the same skin colour.

But that is what he wants to tell them, that he has seen, that he can identify, one of the black boys throwing things at them.

His name is Edric Kennedy-Macfoy.

About a year and a half later, the matter has finally been resolved and has been referred to the IPCC at last.

"Kennedy-Macfoy's solicitor, Shamik Dutta, of Bhatt Murphy solicitors, voiced concerns at his client's allegations, saying: "The question many people are bound to ask is why an off-duty firefighter, wearing a pinstriped suit and offering assistance to the police, should have been dragged from his car, shot with a Taser, locked up for many hours and then prosecuted for an offence he did not commit by the very officers he was trying to help."

Good question?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

State Executions

I am always depressed, and overwhelmed at Christmas. It is a sad time of the year. This year I can't walk properly, which does not make things any better.

However, I must post a link and comment on an outstanding article in the Guardian today. It is written by Mehdi Hasan, described as a Senior Editor on the New Statesman.

It is timely because the British government has just lost the case for deporting Abu Qatada, a fundamentalist Muslim whom the government would dearly like to get rid of.

He cannot be deported but it would be OK for us to assassinate him? Does that make sense?

See Hasan's striking article in full at:

And think about these issues in the light of the very recent assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, the deputy head of Iran's uranium enrichment programme.

".... western liberals who fall over one another to condemn the death penalty for murderers – who have, incidentally, had the benefit of lawyers, trials and appeals .... fall quiet as their states kill, with impunity, nuclear scientists, terror suspects and alleged militants in faraway lands. Yet a "targeted killing", human-rights lawyer and anti-drone activist Clive Stafford Smith tells me, "is just the death penalty without due process".

Cognitive dissonance abounds. To torture a terror suspect, for example, is always morally wrong; to kill him, video game style, with a missile fired from a remote-controlled drone, is morally justified. Crippled by fear and insecurity, we have sleepwalked into a situation where governments have arrogated to themselves the right to murder their enemies abroad.

Nor are we only talking about foreigners here. Take Anwar al-Awlaki, an Islamist preacher, al-Qaida supporter – and US citizen. On 30 September 2011, a CIA drone killed Awlaki and another US citizen, Samir Khan. Two weeks later, another CIA-led drone attack killed Awlaki's 21-year-old son, Abdul-Rahman. Neither father nor son were ever indicted, let alone tried or convicted, for committing a crime. Both US citizens were assassinated by the US government in violation of the Fifth Amendment ("No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law")."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Police and the Frailty of Truth

"Britain's most senior police officer," (Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner) "has defended the practice of undercover officers using fake identities in court."

He claimed, when he appeared before the Metropolitan Police Authority, that "there's no law that says it can't happen."

That was, according to Lord Macdonald, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, "a bold assertion."

It is stupendously, horrifyingly, cretinously, unbelievable that a senior police officer can suggest for a moment that committing perjury in open court is OK if you happen to be a policeman.

And this amazing statement was not made headline news by the supine, stupid, lazy, wicked people who run our newspapers and other media.

I did not see it mentioned in Metro, the Evening Standard or on the news on Radio 4 or BBC tv. I only found out about it from the Guardian (28th. October, main section, page 8).

Even the Guardian did not put this most revealing comment on the front page.

What's wrong with people now?

Don't they see the creeping corruption that is infecting and has infected our society?

To assert that dishonest police behaviour, if tolerated and authorised by senior police officers, should also be tolerated by the courts, means that ALL our standards have gone down the path of dishonesty well trodden by the fat cats of the city and British industry, where bosses' salaries have risen hugely in the past few years while ordinary workers salaries have been rigidly controlled or even diminished.

Is that the country we all want to live in?

I don't understand why it is so difficult to shout these simple truths from the roof tops and get people to listen.

Morality is important.

Lying is wrong.

Greed is not good, it is intolerable and the invidious distribution of wealth in our society will be paid back in blood.

Probably soon.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Protests at St. Paul's

St. Paul was a tent-maker.

St. Paul's Cathedral, in the heart of the City of London, is currently surrounded by tents occupied by protesters opposed to capitalism and the greedy excesses of capitalism which the City now represents.

"Greed is good," said the (fictional) icon, Gordon Gekko, in a movie made in the '80s.

It seems otherwise now, as Western capitalism starts to collapse in upon itself like a dying star.

The cathedral has been closed "for health and safety reasons" for the last week. The police are about to be called in to evict the tent-dwellers by force.

It is sad, says the Canon Chancellor of St. Paul's, who has resigned from his post on this issue, that the protesters "came to occupy the Stock Exchange but ended by closing a cathedral."

But what do the protesters want? What are their demands? What answers do they propose?

"Answers?" wrote an anonymous commentator on the Guardian's internet column. "They barely have questions."

"Why should they have all the answers," retorted another, "There is no such thing as all the answers."

"It's pretty obvious what people want first off," wrote a third. "To show how damn angry and frustrated they are with the status quo and how much they want change. It will take a long time, longer even than a winter's camping on St. Paul's cobbles, but this is as good a place to start as any."

(Sources: Guardian 29th. October, G2 p. 15 and main section interview.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Britain is best .... but at what?

UK has 'worst quality of life in Europe'

Survey of 10 developed European countries puts UK at bottom of the pile due to high costs of living, while France takes top spot

Mark King
Thursday September 29 2011
The Guardian

The UK has been named the worst place to live in Europe for quality of life, behind countries with damaged economies such as Ireland and Italy, according to the latest uSwitch [" title="uSwitch website] quality of life index.

The UK emerged as having the second lowest hours of sunshine a year, the fourth highest retirement age, and the third lowest spend on health as a percentage of GDP.

Despite above average household income ? the fourth highest in Europe ? Britons have 5.5 fewer days holiday a year than the European average and endure a below average government spend on education.

UK households also struggle with a high cost of living, with food and diesel prices the highest in Europe, and unleaded petrol, alcohol and cigarettes all costing more than the European average.

As a result, more than one in 10 Britons (12%) said they are "seriously considering" emigrating, with "broken society" the biggest concern for 59% of those questioned, followed by the cost of living (49%), and crime and violence (47%). Just 5% of those questioned are happy in the UK.

(A later report, a few days later, from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, seemed to suggest the opposite of this, that Britain was rather popular with its inhabitants, but few details were published and they did not seem very convincing. When I tried to look up the report on the OECD's web-site, I could not find any mention of it. Did it ever exist? Was the newspaper 'story' about it just that, a story?)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Another thing I love about Britain - hypocrisy!

Politicians have waxed lyrical about the "evident criminality" of the rioters and looters who took part in disturbances in London and many other English cities last week. They have also demanded the most severe penalties.

The legislature and the judiciary are (supposedly) separate bodies in the U.K. It is not, as one columnist put it, for politicians to cheer or boo the decisions of the supposedly independent judges and magistrates. This did not seem to constrain anyone. Indeed, Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service went out of its way to clarify the position:

"Sentencing is a matter for the independent judiciary," it said. (But) "... justices' clerks and legal advisers in magistrates courts have a responsibility to give advice to magistrates on sentencing guidelines .... Accordingly magistrates in London are being advised by their legal advisers to consider whether their powers of punishment are sufficient in dealing with some cases arising from the recent disorder."

So that is clear then. The judiciary and magistrates are independent. On the other hand all their professional advisers are telling them to ratchet up the sentences they give and send offenders to the Crown Courts if magistrates' powers seem insufficient. This advice reflects the vengeful ambitions of the politicians (led by the Prime Minister).

From the Guardian, 16th. August: "The Chair of Camberwell Green magistrates' court, Novello Noades, went so far as to claim that the court had been given a government "directive" that anyone involved in the rioting be given a custodial sentence. She later retracted her statement and said that she was mortified to have used the term 'directive'."

Whatever you call it, the 'directive' has had its effect and the results of this advice from the politicians have been ludicrous. It would be a laughable situation were the sentences imposed not so extreme that they will wreck the lives of some young people and incite rather than deter active expressions of protest and dissent.

A youth was sent to prison for six months for stealing bottled water valued at £3.50. Two others were sent to prison for four years each (FOUR YEARS) for posting riotous suggestions on Facebook (though absolutely no one responded and one of them took the suggestions down as soon as he sobered up.)

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, was - for once - completely right when he stated (before he came into office) that austerity policies and excessive deflationary pressures would lead to riots. These were his words before the last election, which Gary Younge recalled in an excellent article in the Guardian on Monday 15th. August:

"Imagine the Conservatives ... get an absolute majority, on 25% of the eligible votes .... They then turn around in the next week or two and say we're going to chuck up VAT to 20%, we're going to start cutting teachers, cutting the police, and the wage bill in the public sector. I think if you're not careful in that situation ... you'd get Greek-style unrest."

The Tories got 23% of the eligible vote.

Nick Clegg and his party have actively supported cutting teachers' pay, cutting the numbers of the police and axing the wage bill in the public sector.

Result? Unsurprisingly?

".... Greek-style unrest."

Given how much politicians pocketed before the expenses scandal and the autocratic disdain with which they paid back the money (without remorse) when forced to do so, it does not behove them to call for poor people to be sent to prison for ludicrously long periods.

Most of the politicians stole much more than £3.50.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The riots and the death of Mark Duggan

It seems a long time since Murdoch and the News of the World were the most important things going on in the world - yet it is only a few weeks. In the last seven days, Britain has been rocked by the unexpected and amazingly destructive riots that have taken place in many English cities.

The riots started in Tottenham in London where a young black man was killed by the police in circumstances which the police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission have successfully made suspicious. The first accounts of the incident were (probably deliberately) intended to mislead. This was the Guardian internet headline, over an article by Paul Lewis and Sandra Laville dated 13 August:

Mark Duggan death: IPCC says it inadvertently misled media

Police watchdog says it led media to believe shots were exchanged but Duggan was carrying gun that was never used

The text of the internet version of this article is at:

It is very convenient, if the police shoot a man hastily, mistakenly or by accident, to discover a gun in his pocket or near his cold dead fingers. American cops used to carry unidentifiable 'throwdown' weapons for just this purpose.

The weapon that Mark Duggan is said to have been carrying has variously been described as a converted starting pistol or a replica gun converted to fire real bullets. There was, it has been said, just one bullet in it.

If Duggan was, as the police allege, a major drug dealer and pusher, could he not have got himself a more impressive weapon? And should he not have been in a luxurious Range Rover rather than a mini-cab when he was shot?

The whole thing stinks. And it was to find out what the police would say about it that a protest march led by Duggan's family members went to the police station on Friday 6th. August.

They were kept waiting for, it seems, five hours. No one would come out and tell them what was going on, what the IPCC were doing or why the police had shot Duggan. Instead, the trail was muddied into obscurity by the misleading statements about Duggan opening fire on the police which are reported above.

That was when a peaceful demonstration turned into a riot; when supporters of the family of a man murdered or at least killed by the police sought a peaceful explanation for his death and, failing to find it, tore bits of their own community apart in protest. And a ready well of frustration in other areas, in other cities, flooded the streets with copycat violence as a result.

As I texted to a friend later, when a Cabinet full of millionaire old Etonians informs a whole nation that it is to be impoverished, that the young now have no hope and the old have no security, it is hardly surprising when mindless mob violence born of anger and frustration erupts onto our streets.

P.S. To my surprise, I find the Daily Telegraph's Chief Political Correspondent, Peter Oborne, expressing views very similar to those in my last paragraph in an excellent recent 'think piece'. You can read his views at this addresss:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

She knew - she knew all the time

from the Guardian, 17/7/11

"... (The Spectator's) current issue also carries an illuminating anecdote by the columnist Toby Young, who recalled Lis Murdoch's hen night before her marriage to Freud, when she and Rebekah Wade (then editing the News of the World, and not yet Mrs Brooks) were in a party of "boozed-up ladies" being ferried around London in "a white stretch limo". Noticing they were being followed by a Ford Mondeo in a way that suggested a paparazzo pursuit, Wade "called her picture desk and rattled off the Mondeo's number plate. In less than a minute, she had the name and telephone number of the car's owner, a notorious paparazzo." She rang the number and, Young says, told him: "If you don't stop following us, I'll personally see to it that you never work in this town again." Cue an immediate U-turn by their pursuer."

OK - very amusing.

So Rebekah Wade KNEW eight or ten years ago, how to get her staff to hack police or phone company data bases?

HELLO! Did you all hear me?

Rebekah Wade KNEW eight or ten years ago, exactly who to phone, on her staff, who could hack police or phone company data bases? In real time?

And how to use that information to threaten retaliation?

Well, blow me - what a surprise!

She seems to have forgotten that this was part of her range of talents ..... her ruthlessness, her aggression, her disregard for the legalities and, of course, she had no knowledge whatsoever of her staff doing similar bad things in the years that followed.


The sheer cheek makes you blink and recoil.

The casual incompetent arrogance of News International is (please God) going to kill them dead!

I cannot wait.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What I love about Britain (1-7)

What I love about Britain (1)

That an unknown Australian with a lot of his Daddy's money could come here 30 or more years ago and buy up three of the most influential newspapers and bankrupt a respectable and properly regulated satellite television company and gain monopoly control of all the satellite broadcasting in this country.

What I love about Britain (2)

That when the same Australian transformed himself into an American we let him go on owning all that stuff.

What I love about Britain (3)

That is was only when his staff tried to hack the Royal Family's phones that his Evil Empire started to collapse.

What I love about Britain (4)

That in 2009, when the Guardian accused Murdoch and his staff of bad stuff like this, the Metropolitan Police rubbished the Guardian in a report which its author, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, yesterday described as "pretty crap" in a remarkably frank Sunday Telegraph article.

What I love about Britain (5)

That Yates worked really closely, on his "crap" 2009 report with Ken Macdonald, then Head of the Crown Prosecution Service.

What I love about Britain (6)

That Ken Macdonald, now Lord Macdonald, is currently retained by News International to "advise them on their dealings with the police."

What I love about Britain (7)

That you couldn't possibly make it up.

PS - What I also love about Britain:

The Guardian correction this morning.

Lord Macdonald "has given some advice to the company (News International) about the ... issue of allegedly corrupt payments to police on the part of News of the World journalists."
Which sounds like he is advising them on their newspaper's dealings with the police?

He has not been "retained" but he does "give them some advice."

Now, does he give them this advice for free?

Or, can we assume, he invoices them accordingly?

The advice of somebody of Lord Macdonald's legal standing should be worth - what - 500 pounds sterling per hour? 1,000 pounds or more for a written opinion? I am not a lawyer - I am guessing - but that is probably in the appropriate scale of charges. He may be able to charge much more.

In other words, Lord Macdonald has been paid to help News International as it wriggles and jiggles and squiggles inside the British body politic which is trying (like the old lady who swallowed a fly) to rid itself of this parasitic, cruel and mischievous organization.

I think Lord Macdonald would do well to review his choice of clients.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

British Police - and how they behave

A terrible, shocking story - which you all ought to read and remember:

Last year, returning from a football match, student Tommy Meyers was savaged by a police dog while being arrested for assault. 

Now, following his acquittal, he and his family talk about the incident.

"Until 11 September last year, the police were rather admired in the Meyers household. Tony Meyers is a firefighter, a profession in which you work closely with the police and tend to get on with them, and his younger son, then 17, had done work experience with the police and was considering it as a career.
All that changed in a few dreadful seconds on Reading station, when the two of them were forced to watch as officers handcuffed Tony's older son, 20-year-old Leeds University student Tommy, forced him on to the ground, and set a police dog on him. The dog bit fiercely into Tommy's face – he couldn't even raise his handcuffed hands to protect himself. The injuries will be with him for the rest of his life, partly because the police refused him access to antibiotics for 14 hours, by which time infection had taken hold.
Tommy, a slightly built, taciturn and rather serious student of medical biochemistry who is thinking about training to be a doctor, was acquitted of assault and resisting arrest last month. I ask him what he thinks of the police now. He pauses for a moment to put his thoughts in order and says quietly: "They're cruel, inhumane, barbaric and brutal. They look on people with disdain. They think they are above everyone else. I have no faith at all in the police." Tony says: "The only trouble I witnessed that day was caused by the bullying police thugs who think they can do what they want and get away with it."